1. Enable two-factor authentication on your accounts
The best, and most reliable way to secure your social media accounts, by far, is to enable two-factor authentication. Many social sites do this in different ways, but as it stands the favorite option is to use a text message. The best way to find a way to enable this feature (since we can’t list instructions for dozens of different sites) is to dig around in your account settings or go to the help page to find a way to enable this feature.
The way this feature works is that as you log in, you get a self-destructing code that you need to enter to verify your account. This concept works very well, as a hacker would have to steal your phone or spoof your phonenumber. It should be noted that this is not an impossible task, but having this extra layer of security makes a world of difference.
2. Switch all your passwords to a password manager
The ability for the average human being to create a secure password is iffy at best. Most people have terrible insecure passwords, even if they think it’s secure. This is why it’s best to just use a password manager, and not for convenience but because most password managers (like LastPass, etc.), have a feature that allows for the generation of secure passwords.
When you sign up for a service like lastpass, you can take it upon yourself to change your passwords manually and then use the password manager’s secure password generator. With a secure password your social accounts will be a lot more secure. Not impenetrable, mind you, but with harder-to-guess passwords you’ll have a better shot at being safe.
3. Use a separate email address for social activities
I mentioned in the second item in this list that a lot of people do a terrible job at picking passwords. This is most often the case, and along with picking less-secure passwords, people often reuse that same password on multiple accounts. This can be a problem because when a hacker gets access to your social profiles, they’re not just going to stay on your social profiles.
They’re going to take the password they gained and try it everywhere. The most dangerous place being your email account: the key to your digital life. This is why it is imperative that you make a separate email account for your social profiles. Keep it entirely separate from anything financial or other personal things attached to it.
That way if they gain access to a social profile of yours, and then from there are able to figure out your email, they wont get your main account – only the one that is attached to your social profiles. A good, necessary step to stay safe in the social world.
4. Add your phone number as a recovery option
Many social profiles, and websites in general, are allowing users to add their phone number as an emergency recovery option. The point being if your account is totally and completely compromised, you can have your social profile call your phone number and give the option to recover your account.
Not every social network does it outside of the big social networks. Regardless, search through all of your social networks’ account settings to enable this feature, as having it is always a good idea.
5. Take advantage of social network privacy options
Sometimes the way a hacker can gain recovery information on you is by simply viewing your profile. Take Facebook, for instance. You have a recovery question that says “what color is your dog,” and you posted a picture of your dog on your profile. This person can easily see this picture, as it was posted publicly, and use it as a reference. The same can be said about relatives’ maiden names, etc.
If you are not a celebrity and don’t want your private information out there, you should probably take it upon yourself to re-evaluate your privacy settings on all of your social profiles and change them accordingly.